Archive | February, 2007

Seacoast Linux User Group tonight: Rob Anderson on MP3

What : MP3 file handling under Linux
Who : Robert E. Anderson
Day : Mon 12 Feb 2007
Time : 7:00 PM
Where: Room 301, Morse Hall, UNH, Durham, NH

This month’s meeting of the Seacoast Linux User Group will feature Robert E. Anderson talking about MP3 file handling under Linux. Talk to include:

  • MP3 vs OggVorbis
  • Ripping a CD collection using KAudioCreator.
  • Playlist formats PLP vs M3U
  • ID3 tags
  • udev and autofs
  • Amarok
  • VFAT and special characters
  • rsync

Further details can be found at

For directions and related web links visit the website

Hosstraders no more

Color horse logo of HosstradersSad news from the organizers of the spring and fall Hosstraders ham radio festival: they have chosen to end the event. No more Hosstraders. I very much enjoyed the last four or five I attended. The GNHLUG has manned a booth there for quite some time, and it was a great opportunity to do some outreach to like-minded technically adept folks. We gave away a lot of Linux distributions, sold off personal surplus equipment and picked up lots of neat gadgets. I’ll miss Hosstraders. USD 1.3 million was raised for Shriner’s Children Burn Centers. GNHLUG leader maddog expresses his appreciation here. – Linspire Letter

In this week’s – Linspire Letter, Linspire announces a partnership with Canonical, the commercial supporters of Ubuntu. Linspire/Freespire plans to move their foundation distribution from Debian to Ubuntu, as MEPIS had announced some time ago. Ubuntu, in turn, plans to include CNR (“Click’N Run”) as an additional means of installing software – some free, some commercial, like codecs – into later versions of Ubuntu. This seems like a direct response to Eric S. Raymond’s call for better interoperability with proprietary formats for Linux.

No doubt, “Free as in Freedom” purists will see this as troubling. Pragmatic folks who just want to play their MP3s on Linux may welcome it. Whether this is the move that opens Linux to widespread adoption or destroys the underpinnings of Open Source… only time will tell.

MonadLUG notes: 8-Feb-2007: uniq and Joomla!

Charlie Farinella called the meeting to order promptly at 7 PM and cracked his whip to stick to his streamlined agenda. Brief announcements (“find GNHLUG events on”) were followed by Ray Côté’s presentation of uniq. Ray explained the function and then introduced an increasingly complex set of examples, one building on another to show how uniq could remove duplicate lines from a sorted file, display various counts of duplicates and so forth.

Guy Pardoe was the main presenter. After the requisite wrestling with the projector, Guy talked about Joomla! Guy had hoped to be showing version 1.5, but it is still in early beta (beta 1 with beta 2 due rsn), so he didn’t feel it was ready to talk about for production sites. Guy explained when he volunteered for the presentation he thought 1.5 would be available, and promised to return when 1.5 was available and he had some experience in using it for production work. He briefly reviewed Barrie North’s presentation from DLSLUG last year (registration required) (and our notes from that meeting). Guy then showed us the Joomla! 1.0 correction: 1.5 install he had done that day, highlighting the basic features of the CMS and the ease of use of the administrative interface. It appeared to be a very open and accessible system. Templates and CSS files could be edited from within the interface and they appeared to be XHTML and CSS2 compliant.

A general Q&A followed. General concerns on the security of the core framework. Concern about the timeliness of the 1.5 release. General discussion of what CMS could do and what the target market was.

After the main presentation, the floor was opened up for general discussion. Maddog announced that he and Bill Sconce had met with faculty at the New Hampshire Technical Institute and that a plan to hold a series of MythTV Installfests was proposed (see the -org list for details).

Answering another question that has come up on the discusssion list, I came across this post while I was looking for Barrie’s presentation. While he is advocating for Joomla!, of course, he may be pointing out that WordPress would meet some peoples needs as well.

Why you want to use Joomla! instead of WordPress

Thirteen attendees were at the meeting. Thanks to Charlie for running the meeting, Ray and Guy for presenting, Ken and the Monadnock SAU for providing the facilities, and to maddog and all attendees for participating!

MonadLUG meets tomorrow night: Joomla! and uniq

MonadLUG meets tomorrow night, 7 PM at the SAU1 offices in Peterborough (directions here). The Man Page of the Month will be uniq, presented by Raymond Cote. The MPOM have been very successful: one volunteer takes a few minutes to talk about a single command. Nearly all of the presenters have included a double-sided handout with command reference and some illustrative real-world examples. It gives attendees a chance to share their experiences and observations and I never fail to hear “I didn’t know it could do THAT.”

The main presentation will be on Joomla! by Guy Pardoe. Joomla! is a content management system based on LAMP and fairly easy to install, configure and maintain. An active developer base, support forum and a huge user manual make basic operations pretty approachable. I’ll be interested in hearing Guy’s insights.

Notes from CentraLUG meeting, 5-Feb-2007: Matt Brodeur and GNUPrivacyGuard

We were lucky last night to have Matt Brodeur drive up from his day job at RedHat in Westford, MA to present a meeting on GPG, the open source implementation of OpenPGP, the Pretty Good Privacy algorithms and utilities. Matt had a slideshow in 2 Impress (available at and in PDF here.

Eleven attendees made it to the meeting. Matt briefly discussed the origins of PGP, and then dove right into the process and utilities of how Privacy Guard works. Matt also had brought some scripts he replayed to walk through the sequence of generating a key pair, signing another’s key, sharing keys to a keyserver. Matt walked us through the concepts behind the Web of Trust and the issues and processes of revoking keys. During the presentation and following, there were a fair number of questions and Matt dealt with them well.

Although we had hoped to have a keysigning as part of the meeting, we elected to postpone that portion to future meetings. As the group is fairly small, we agreed we can do individual signings as needed.

Future meetings: March 5th will feature Andy Bair talking about “Digital Forensics File Carving,” a popular topic he’s presented at several other groups. On April 2nd, William Stearns will do a presentation on Logical Volume Management. I saw Bill do an LVM presentation at DLSLUG back in 2005, and he had a great presentation. Looking forward to seeing both presentations!

Fedora Board Q&A

Thanks again to BU staff and to gregdek for making this happen.

Reviewing other SotU speeches, Max Spevak presented the Fedora State of the Union. The Axis of Evil: Redmond, RIAA/MPAA and any reasonable large technology company located on the isle of Man. 2nd: a voucher program: one badge entitles one to one FUDPub drink. 3rd: a large budgetary expenditure with no clear goal and no endpoint. “We shall send a Fedora Hacker to the moon.”

What’s my job at RedHat: To oversee all the moving parts of Fedora. Community building whenever we can. External community strong than it was. Internal community building within RedHat: part of the effort is educating what Fedora is within RedHat. Sometimes it appears to run slower in-house than the outer community would wish. Transparency has been another big deal. Working hard to make that better. Private e-mail and chats still happen. The Fedora Board is a big part of that.

Big round of applause for Thorsten Leeman (sp?), leader of Fedora Extras.

Review of last year’s goal:

1. External commits to Fedora Core: moved Core into Extras and renamed it Core. Success!
2. “Fedora Media Project” – Thomas Chung, Fedora Weekly News
3. Fedora Ship-It project: volunteers burning media and mailing it at their own expenses.
4. Fedora Infrastructure: a wild ride. Eliot Lee made that all happen a year ago. He’s moved on to Lulu. Dennis Warren, Mike McGrath, Warren Togami and… missed it.. kept the project running, MM starts working for RH next week.

Results: Punji can build an image customizable to thei needs of the consumers. “Throw some RPMs at it, it dep-solves everything and you get the image you want.” may be too optimistic. Let the KDE group own of the community image of KDE-Fedora?

“I think of Fedora as the conscience of RedHat.”

OLPC Rocks!

Yeah, I’m not the first to notice this. The specs, details and pictures are available in a lot of places, better than I could summarize. Interesting things I got out of the presentation: lots of Python (yeah!), this is a great example of dogfooding (discovering useless ticking of kernel that eats CPU power, heats data centers and leads to global warming) in this case means little kids stuck pedaling, and that brings it home for the OLPC developers. The code they will be turning back into the Fedora, Red Hat and Open Source communities will run faster and cooler. They’ve pushed dbus further than before, turning a lot of poor “loop until something happens” code into subscribe-and-notify messages. They’re cleaning up sloppy dependencies where everthing needs Perl (their example, don’t flame me) but hardly use it for everything.

The display is cool. 1900×800 in hi-resolution monochrome for outdoor use, Those 1900 black pixels become individual red, green or blue pixels for a lower resolution backlight color display. Very clever. They replaced the most expensive individual unit in a laptop with, well, a $50 most expensive unit in the OLPC.

It’s an elegant machine.

Tag: fudconboston2007

What we’re doing with Fedora Seven

Arbitrary division between Core and Extras. Decision to move everything into one build system, one compose system, one distribution. Many reasons: spread out the load, many eyes -> shallow bugs. If anyone can create a “spin” of Fedora. Red Hat does a good job of engineering the core, the build, the methodology. By enabling Fedora to be accessible to many, specialists can turn Fedora to their uses.

1. Getting source code control merged.
2. Getting packaging standards up-to-date. For example, SysVInit, conditional builds depend on files that haven’t existed forever.
3. Adding new features to the build systems. Currently using Plague. (ref. Jessie’s talk this morning)
4. Punji – “anyone can compose a Fedora distribution”

New feature: simple ways to customize a distribution. Punji only lets you pick packages. This is more parameters: ex. start some services by default. Changing the default desktop. Could be done now with a Kickstart file, but that’s an ugly post-build solution.

Fedora Update System: Luke Mecken (?) is working on this. In-house, developer pushes a fix, with a short description, what bugs are fixed, etc. Depends on internal build system at Red Hat. Hope to target Fedora, Extras, and EPEL (Extra Products for Enterprise Linux).

User-oriented features: wireless support. Next-gen wireless support “DeviceScape.” (whole list on the wiki). Nuevo device support. nVidia support a licensing issue – only 2-D freely distributable. Nuevo project is reverse-engineering 3-D support.

Fast-user switching, he says “about time, Windows has had this for years.”

Lots of little fixes: noisy apps the wake up the kernel 10 times a second, startup stuff that times out waiting for hardware you don’t have. A “tickless” kernel. R&R 1.2: from the community. Online detection of device installation and removal, rotation and resizing.

KVM virtualization, which Jeremy talks about later.

Q&A: how about a Migration Wizard that notices that you’ve got FireFox and Thunderbird on your NTFS partition and offers to migrate the settings to Linux? (A: Hmm. NTFS may be an issue, but the code is out there.) How about full disk encryption for laptops (partial answer: no, portions only: home, swap, data, using ecryptfs.) Q: Version numbers: will we ever see 10?

Project Smolt: instrumenting what applications are used. Very sensitive to privacy issues. The LHCP is a larger-scoped project for building databases of hardware compatibility.

SysVInit replacement: there’s a horse race with several competitors. Opinions about what’s what appear to be all over the map. A replacement has to be compatible, support thrd-party packages and broken init scripts, and maintain LSB compatibility. Q whether LSB compatibility is met for init scripts and discussions on their vagueness.

How close is the Core-Extra merge? In process, targetted for Test 2.

Q: on the build system, which dissolved into indecipherable acronyms.

Tag: fedoraboston2007

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